Information for the General Public

Background

  • Mayor Young’s Stay At Home Executive Order, May 15, 2020
  • Mayor Young’s Stay At Home Executive Order – Interpretive Guidance, May 15, 2020
  • In December 2019, a novel coronavirus outbreak was first reported in the city of Wuhan, China. At that time, it was reported that the first cases were linked to a seafood and animal market in Wuhan. Since then, the illness it causes has been named COVID-19.
  • Initially, the vast majority of cases were in China. Since then, thousands of cases have been identified in multiple other countries, including the United States.
  • On January 31, the U.S. declared a national public health emergency to aid our healthcare and public health sectors in responding to the outbreak
  • The week of February 23, the CDC reported community spread in California, Oregon, and Washington. Community spread in Washington resulted in the first United States COVID-19 death.
  • On March 5, Maryland Department of Health confirmed the first 3 positive COVID-19 cases in Maryland residents and Governor Larry Hogan declared Maryland in a state of emergency to increase Maryland’s coordinated COVID-19 response
  • On March 11, the World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a pandemic. 

 
About coronaviruses

There are many viruses in the coronavirus family that can cause illness in both humans and animals. Several coronaviruses commonly circulate among people all of the time and cause mild to moderate illnesses like the common cold. Other coronaviruses commonly circulate only in animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve to infect people and spread from person to person, as with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in 2012 and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in the early 2000s.

Symptoms

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Diagnosis

Please refer to our Where to Get Tested website for more information.  

Treatment

There is no virus-specific treatment for COVID-19 at this time. The CDC suggests supportive care to manage and relieve symptoms.

Prevention

Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent COVID-19. People can protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Practice good health habits.

It’s not too late to get your flu shot!

The influenza vaccine does not protect against any coronavirus infection, but it can help keep you healthy during the flu season.

Who is at higher risk for getting sick from COVID-19?

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults (60 years old and older)
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease
    • Chronic Kidney disease

If you are at a higher risk of severe disease from COVID-19 (age 60 years or older or with an underlying medical condition) it is extra important for you to take action to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • Prepare for a potential local outbreak of COVID-19 in our community. This includes stocking up on supplies, food, and prescription medications.
  • When in public, keep away from those who are sick and limit close contact
  • Wash your hands often especially after being around public areas and high-touch surfaces in public places (elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with others, etc.)
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel

What to do if you think you have the coronavirus?

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should call ahead to a healthcare professional and mention your symptoms. Your healthcare professional will work with the Baltimore City Health Department, Maryland Department of Health and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.

If you do not have a health care provider, please click here for a list of clinics in Baltimore City. 

For Questions About Testing and Testing Availability, please visit https://coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/information-general-public/information-about-covid-19-testing-baltimore-city 

Frequently Asked Questions about Home Isolation after you've been tested for COVID-19 can be found here.

COVID-19 Update: Stay at Home Executive Order

 

Effective 8:00pm March 30, 2020, the State of Maryland has issued a “Stay at Home” Executive Order. The link to Governor Hogan’s Executive order can be found here:

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gatherings-FOURTH-AMENDED-3.30.20.pdf

During this stay at home directive, Baltimore City residents are required to stay home, unless for essential needs, listed below.

Staff and owners of businesses deemed “essential” are still allowed to travel between their homes and business, as well as to travel to and from customers for the purpose of delivering goods and services. For a list of essential businesses, please visit:

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/OLC-Interpretive-Guidance-COVID19-04.pdf

Staff and owners of businesses not deemed “essential” may travel between their homes and those non-essential businesses to maintain minimal operations, as well as to travel to and from customers for the purpose of delivering goods. More details about travel for staff of non-essential businesses can be found in the text of the executive order:

https://governor.maryland.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Gatherings-FOURTH-AMENDED-3.30.20.pdf

Essential needs include:

  • Obtaining necessary supplies or services for one’s self, family, pets or livestock;
    • Groceries, supplies for household consumption, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, laundry, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance
  • Medical, behavioral health, or emergency services, including obtaining medication or medical supplies
  • Transportation of a family member, friend, pet or livestock in another household to obtain essential health and safety needs, supplies, and services
  • Traveling to and from an educational institution for the purpose of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, including walking, hiking, running or biking or walking your pet, in compliance with social distancing guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control
    • Maintain at least 6 feet of separation while outdoors
    • Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
    • If you are feeling sick, stay home
  • Travel required by a law enforcement officer or court order
  • Traveling to and from a local, state or federal government building for a necessary purpose

Social Gatherings of 10 or more, including house parties or barbecues, remain banned.

Per the Stay At Home directive, a person who knowingly and willfully violates this order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.

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